Friday, February 16, 2007

blogger interview #2 - Jim Dowling

Jim Dowling is the blogger behind Let's Keep Things Simple, which he just launched this month. Jim and I work for the same company, but so does half the free world, so I've never met him. (Plus, he lives far away.) But, like Jim, I'm a sucker for sarcasm and cynicism and I sensed a touch of that in his posts, so I was reeled in. (The Superficial is in my RSS reader as well, Jim. Andrew Sullivan turned me on to it.) Jim has discovered that the blog comments are the true gateway drug, so if you want to send him free falling into a bad habit, go visit him and post a comment.

1) You've just launched Let's Keep Things Simple. Is this your first and/or only blog? (If not, tell me about your other blogs, if you don't mind.) What made you decide to create yet "another pocket of digital hot air"?

It is my first and only blog. I've been dabbling with the idea for a while, as I've always enjoyed knocking out pithy comments on emails to my friends. I thought I'd widen the audience a little.
The reality is, I am doing it for the financial gain of my employer, and that's what's finally made me do it. I have a job that requires me to travel all around Asia, helping our offices become more creative. India to Australia is a long way. By starting a blog, in theory, I'd have to get on less planes to share my thoughts with our people. And if it works, my company makes more money.

2) Based on your posts, it seems like you have read your fair share of PR blogs and have found some of them to be less than engaging. What do you think makes a good PR blog? Do you have any in particular that you would recommend to me or my readers?

Actually I am a recent returner to PR blogs simply because when the blogging world first piqued my interest, all I could find from PR bloggers were people who liked to show off about how tight their client relationships were, or justify how busy they were. It switched me off.
My fave to date is Strumpette though. Anyone that doesn't take all this too seriously is good by me. I'm also inspired one of the world's great publicists - Flying Frank.

3) Do you tell your friends and co-workers about your blog? Any strange looks? Are there people with whom you specifically do not want to share your blog?

I've posted four times so far, and I've managed to keep it hidden from my girlfriend and family. My girlfriend has a real job educating children so I try to keep a distance between hers and mine. It's compounded by the fact I'm usually spending my time at work trying to persuade her kids to buy cell phones or sneakers. My co-workers have been supportive so far though.

4) I know that you're just starting out, but what is your process for posting? Do you decide, "I'm going to post," and then come up with something to post about or do you sit down and post because you have something specific you want to say? Have you felt the urge to stop what you are doing to post?

So far, I'm getting myself into the discipline of posting but I expect to behave slightly more irrationally as you're suggesting. This is going to make me sound terribly naive and innocent - but I got my first comment to my first ever post from a complete stranger. It was a very mild kind of buzz. It's going to be like a drug isn't it?

5) Any blogs out there for which you have blog envy?

Yes. I'm English, so that may qualify what I'm about to write. I would like Will Luke's job. He runs a blog called The Corridor and he spends his days writing about cricket and then blogging about the important aspects of the game, like the media and culture around the sport. I feel like I've been drinking with him for 15 years, but we've exchanged about three emails in our life. In all seriousness, his blog awoke me to the power of the online community. If I wanted to talk cricket with people with the same attitude to it as me, I'd rely on meeting my mates Dom, Rich and Ray in a bar. Now I'm doing that with 300 people I've never met. In my public relations world looking after brands - that's hugely significant.

6) Is there a blog in your RSS aggregator (presuming you have one) that
people might be surprised you read?

I do my best to take the moral high ground, but I'm always sucked in by
sarcasm and cynicism. The Superficial for me does it every time.

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